Finding Strength in the Peaks: Delphine Dard, an Haute Route Ambassador

The Haute Route is not just a race; it’s a challenge that pushes cyclists to their limits. For Delphine Dard, an ambassador of the Haute Route, this journey has been a test of physical endurance and mental fortitude, with moments that have defined her as an cyclist and as a person.

Delphine’s first encounter with the Haute Route was in 2018. Her husband, already a seasoned participant, inspired her to take on this adventure. Little did she know, she was also carrying a life-changing surprise: she was pregnant. Despite the unknowingness of her situation, Delphine powered through, finishing 3rd overall among women. This experience marked the beginning of a special journey for her.

“During the Alpe d’Huez time trial, I learned that being a good climber doesn’t necessarily make you good in flat time trials. That day motivated me to train harder every year and improve my performance on that climb.”

However, it was in the Pyrenees in 2023 that Delphine faced her toughest challenge. Leading her age category going into the final stage, she battled a physical injury. Despite her fears, she found an inner strength, fueled by the thought of her young son cheering her on. She turned her race into a personal time trial, ultimately securing victory.

Reflecting on her journey, Delphine believes that the Haute Route has taught her profound lessons about herself.

“The Haute Route pushes your mental limits. The physical will follow. I train hard all year with the motto ‘Train hard and race light,’ but sometimes the race becomes even harder than expected because of the weather or because you don’t feel as good. I should have given up several times, but I managed to find unsuspected mental resources that gave me back my legs”.

Delphine also cherishes the camaraderie and friendships forged through the Haute Route.

“What I love about the Haute Route is that we spend the week racing against other participants, but it becomes a game, and competitors become real friends. We’re ready to help each other when needed”.

Delphine Dard’s story is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for growth and resilience. Her journey through the Haute Route has been one of discovery, friendship, and self-improvement.

As she looks forward to this year’s challenge, she carries with her the lessons learned from the road: to embrace difficulty as an opportunity to grow stronger and to always find the strength to push forward.